Literary Los Angeles

In preparation for his trip to Los Angeles, our writer delves into a book about the city and later enjoys time in one of L.A.'s most interesting bookstores.

Bookshelf: The Story of Santa Cruz Island

The heart of this book is the epic tale of the Caire family, which at one time owned Santa Cruz Island, about 30 miles off the coast of California.

Bookshelf: Three Contrasting Stories of Namibia

Reading a book about a place you're going to visit is always enriching, but in the case of Namibia, it's particularly helpful.

Romania Bookshelf: Travelogues by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Two of the best travelogues ever penned, "A Time of Gifts" and "Between the Woods and the Water," make a perfect read before, during or after a trip to Romania.

Hamburg Bookshelf: Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks”

Thomas Mann's novel "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" is a masterpiece. It would be enjoyable for anyone, but especially those traveling to Hamburg.

Key West Reading List

Key West has long been a refuge and an inspiration for writers. Not all the books on this list constitute high literature, but each is well worth reading.

Bookshelf: Dordogne's Neanderthal History

Author Beebe Bahrami offers an excellent introduction to Dordogne's Neanderthal history in her new book "Cafe Neandertal."

Best Summer Reads

There is no shortage of engaging recent releases. These 11 books represent a range of genres, set in a variety of locations around the world.

Ecuador Bookshelf: 'The Beak of the Finch'

Jonathan Weiner enjoyed the benefit of hindsight when he came to write "The Beak of the Finch," for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

Bookshelf: 'Shadows in the Vineyard'

In this true crime story, Maximillian Potter relates the attempt to extort 1 million euro from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti by poisoning its best vineyards.

The Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Journey

If wanderlust has you restless or the comforts of home are feeling ho-hum, a good book can refocus your energy and fuel your imagination.

Bookshelf: Buenos Aires, The Biography of a City

I especially enjoyed this new work by James Gardner, published in 2015, which examines the history of Buenos Aires through the lens of its architecture.

Hawaii Bookshelf

Recommended reading for a trip to Hawaii from editor-in-chief Andrew Harper.

An Antarctic Reading and Viewing List

The books and DVDs I found most useful and enjoyable in preparing for our Antarctic trip, and while there.

Myanmar Bookshelf

The magnetic personality and personal courage of Aung San Suu Kyi are inseparable from the story of modern Myanmar.

Namibia Books and Videos

Compared with the number about many African countries, there is a shortage of books in English about Namibia.

Bookshelf: 'The Birth of Sydney'

Rather than produce a dry history of the city, in “The Birth of Sydney,” editor Tim Flannery assembles a fascinating collection of firsthand descriptions.

Cambodia | Recommended Reading and Films

To fully appreciate the warmth of the Cambodian people, it is valuable to recall the agonies that the country suffered from 1975 to 1979 under Pol Pot.

Bookshelf: 'Sea and Sardinia' and 'Reeds in the Wind'

Two classic volumes from D.H. Lawrence and Grazia Deledda prove to be Mr. Harper's essential volumes for any travelers set to explore the island of Sardinia.

Bookshelf: Memories of Old Prussia

"Before the Storm, Memories of My Youth in Old Prussia" is Countess Marion Dönhoff's memoir, and takes place in East Prussia before it became part of Russia.

The Vineyard at the End of the World

Andrew Harper recommends Ian Mount’s highly readable book, “The Vineyard at the End of the World,” for an introduction to the winemaking history of the region.

Five Favorite London Independent Bookshops

It is a melancholy fact that independent bookshops are nowadays an endangered 
species. The mighty Amazon flows remorselessly on.

'They Were Counted' by Miklós Bánffy

In preparation for a visit to the Hungarian countryside, pick up the first volume of Count Miklós Bánffy’s sprawling and elegiac “Transylvanian Trilogy.” Now a part of Romania, Transylvania was for centuries an autonomous Hungarian province, with a culture similar to that of regions in Hungary today.

New Whisky Book

David Broom, author of The World Atlas of Whisky, a book I enjoy perusing for it cogent look at the many global iterations of this noble spirit, has just come out with a new book.

Flora: Jardim Botânico

Located at the foot 
of the Corcovado and part of Tijuca National Park, Rio’s Botanical Garden is among the finest in the world.

Bird Guides

My favorite portable bird book has become The Sibley Field Guide to Birds

Lake Geneva and Frankenstein

This month's issue of the Andrew Harper Traveler features Montreux on Lake Geneva, Switzerland (as well as the Dents du Midi mountain range beyond), which happens to be the locale that inspired the classic novel "Frankenstein."

Planning: Swiss Bookshelf

I tend to be skeptical about guidebooks, which are often written by people who haven’t set foot in the places they’re describing because of a shoestring budget. There are honorable exceptions, however.

Two Wine Shops Worth Visiting in Cape Town

Two wine shops worth a visit in Cape Town and a must-read for oenophiles visiting South Africa.

Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards: A Year on a Cape Wine Estate by Olive Hamilton Russell

As the wine industry in South Africa has flourished, the food scene in the country has become more interesting and sophisticated, most noticeably in the vibrant precincts of Cape Town.

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